I've been thinking heavily on the topic of leadership for several days now and trying to understand what works and what doesn't. I am currently in the midst of a massive and daring undertaking and putting tremendous demands on my team to deliver.
My challenge has been to keep that pressure from them and help streamline this process so that they can focus on delivering and hitting our milestones. To achieve this, I've tried to step up my leadership and intensity.
I started with a daily stand-up meeting where we got around and discussed our plan for the day, but after just a few days, I thought to myself that it was too limiting if I set the goals for the team and dictated what they did. Who's to say that I have the best idea on how to hit our goals? Instead, I only set our team goal and let each member of the team set their own goals for the day.
The effectiveness of this approach is multifaceted:
The first is that it allows communication of the overall team goal. All members of the team need to know the goal and the mission to succeed; they have to see the bigger picture so that they know that there is a condition for victory and success.
The second is that it allows them to be responsible to their own expectations. Because the goals are set by themselves, if the goals are not achieved, it cannot be blamed on someone else setting unrealistic goals; each member is thus motivated by an internal force and not an external force.
The third is that you will get better ideas simply by having more brains work on the problem of identifying the goals that need to be achieved for success.
A goal oriented leader doesn't tell people to do things, but rather lets them set their goals and move all obstacles out of the path of achieving those goals. The idea is to transform yourself from a manager of tasks to a coordinator of goals: communicate a team goal, let the members set their own goals, and what a leader should do is align all goals to the mission.
(Also, it helps to keep the team well fed)